The writer's life was spent in Rehoboth and Dighton, Mass., Killingby, Conn., Plainfield, N.H., and Chelsea, Vt. He served in four campaigns of the French and Indian war from Massachusetts, 1758-1762 and in two campaigns of the revolution from Connecticut, 1775-1776
February 12, 2013 Subject:
David Perry, Provincial soldier, American Patriot
The author, Capt. David Perry (1741-1826), lived through four wars and served during two. Published in 1822, his narrative, quoted or cited by a number of scholarly historical books currently in publication, describes New England's role in all four and is unique in that it gives his impressions as well as recounting experiences.
As they were in those days, the full title of Capt David Perry's book is its own description:
"Recollections of an old soldier. The life of Captain David Perry, a soldier of the French and revolutionary wars, containing many extraordinary occurrences relating to his own private history, and an account of some interesting events in the history of the times in which he lived, no-where else recorded. Written by himself"
Among those "extraordinary occurrences...no-where else recorded" are a near-death experience that predates the Revolution; an eye-witness account of the capture of Signal Hill in the recapture of St John's, Newfoundland; and his experiences as a American provincial ranger during the Siege of Quebec. The former are indeed "recorded nowhere else," the latter is one of only two such accounts. Although Perry wrote his memoir at the age of 79, his memory is remarkably accurate. (For more information, see The Captain David Perry Web Site, copyright 1999.)
Perry's Recollections was first printed through the generosity of a young printer and newspaper publisher, Simeon Ide (who does not mention his name), at his Republican & Yeoman Printing Office in Windsor, Vermont, 1822. There was no intent of profit. Later editions include one in the early 1900s, one in 1928, and one in 1971.
Capt. David Perry (1741-1826) was born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts; raised a family in Killingly, Connecticut, and then in Plainfield, New Hampshire, where he accepted a captain's commission after the war; wrote his Recollections in Chelsea, Vermont; and lived out his old age in Ira, Vermont, where he died and is buried.
During the French and Indian War (Seven Years' War), Captain David Perry served in the Massachusetts provincial forces under the British against the French and their Indian allies. He fought or served at Ticonderoga, 1758; the Siege of Quebec, 1759; Nova Scotia, 1760 and 1762; and the recapture of St. John's, Newfoundland, later in 1762.
During the American Revolution, he served as a second lieutenant at the Siege of Boston, 1775; and at as a first lieutenant at Providence, Rhode Island, during the winter of 1776-77.
The last war through which Perry lived, but in which he could not serve due to age, was the War of 1812. He devoted the end of his Recollections to that war, and to the situation in the New England States then and shortly after. His entire book was written to future generations and to his posterity, but none more so than his final words.
Capt David Perry's conclusion to his book, and is stirringly patriotic, written by one to whom America's new-found liberties meant so much, and who'd lived through the wars that made them so.